The Impossible Things (#recall 12 series, September)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word each month! This month’s verse is: 

“If you can?” Mark 9:23 (NIV)

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“Sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” -Alice in Wonderland

There’s a scene at the end of Alice in Wonderland, where Alice is trying to summon the strength within herself to slay the Jabowake. And in doing so, she recalls all of the impossible things that she has believed. It gives her the courage to do what she believes she can do. Although a fictional story, this classic tale inspires us to remember that “the only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it’s possible.”

The mind can be trained to believe, and our thoughts can be told what we’re capable of. When we come down with a severe case of the “I can’t’s,” it helps to remember Who can. In this month’s memory verse, Jesus asks …“If you can?” Of course we can’t …but He can. And with Him, we will. Let’s look at the entire verse:#recall12 September tweet 1

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23 (NIV)

If you can? 

“What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. Mark 9:16

Doubt can kick the legs of our faith right out from underneath us. Arguments often seed in doubt and threaten to exploit distrust of another’s beliefs.

doubt-to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe. distrust.

Jesus’ disciples were arguing over something that wasn’t going according to plan. The solution they sought wasn’t happening as they thought it should …or had in the past.

“Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech …I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” Mark 9:17-18

Why, this particular time, aren’t His disciples able to heal this boy?

Everything is possible…

Jesus begins to address what is possible for them, and what is possible only for God. Possible often looks a lot different in our eyes than it does to the One who actually has a finger on all things alive.

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” Mark 9:19

Notice what happens when they stop arguing, and start to obey Jesus.

 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. Mark 9:20

Even the spirit saw Jesus coming, and took one last attempt to take the boy out. Life often seems to bear down when we’re already under attack, and that’s exactly what the spirit was doing to this boy.

“A person who truly believes will set no limits on what God can do.” NIV Study Bible Notes

There will be times in all of our lives where Jesus is the only one who will be able to help us.

“…if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Mark 9:22

 

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…for the one who believes.

When beyond our limits, our belief in Christ saves us. Again and again, He will lift us out of what life has buried us in.

“The question was not whether Jesus had the power to heal the boy but whether the father had faith to believe it.” NIV Study Bible Notes

When we walk with Christ, the Holy Spirit will convict our hearts when we’ve let our doubt lead us into dangerous territory. Much like God moved the father’s heart …

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

The hardest part of faith isn’t accepting Jesus as our Savior. It’s not overcoming our doubt. It’s not even believing that the impossible is possible. The difficulty is in understanding what God’s seemingly impossible capability looks like …feels like …sounds like… in our everyday lives.

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

We’re not always going to be equipped to climb our mountains. Sometimes, we have to sit back and let God move them.

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”#recall12 September tweet 2

The hardest part of living in faith is sitting still in the pocket of prayer. Humanity is very goal-oriented. There are many times when are guts achieve God’s glorious goals for our lives. Tenacity and boldness are significantly important to walk out our faith. But there are some tasks that will surpass our physicalities. Answers to questions will eventually elude our logical abilities. Sometimes God answers …“this kind can come out only by prayer.”

Life isn’t always going to look like we think it should, thought it would, or want it to. But that doesn’t mean we should stop believing in the impossible. Our God is God of impossibilities, and Christ has authority over all the earth. The Spirit translates our prayers to God and God’s Word to us. His Word is faith’s handbook, and Christ-followed foot-steps eventually lead us to the Author.

Like Alice repeated the impossibilities that had become possible in her life to extend her courage to defeat the Jabowake …so must we repeat what God has made possible in our lives. When we look back and recount answered prayers, blessings, and miracles …we give our faith feet to stand firm and confidently in His Love.

Happy Believing,

Megs
September #recall 12 PDF

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Recall 12 September Screen Shot

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The Cat Fights (#jammed daily devo, day 220)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 220: Don’t growl about it.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all August 8your mind.’” Matthew 22:37 (NIV)

“STOP.”

My dog tried to act like she didn’t hear me.

“Cherry ….” I warned.

“Grrrrrrr……..”

“Quiet!” I yelled. “Get over here and lay down!”

She sauntered over and landed on my feet …with a sarcastic huff as she let out all of the breath she was saving to bark at the cat that torments her from across the street.

It’s all day long, until we move upstairs to go to sleep …where she growls at that cat from the change in scenery. Every once in a while she will jerk me out of a dead sleep to warn that cat not to cross the street. It’s rediculous. And on occasion, she sleeps on the other side of my shut door because of it.

Today’s verse talks about loving God with all that we know how to love Him with. It’s hard to focus Him 24/7. Like my dog is constantly distracted by that cat, we are thrown off by all kinds of calamity throughout our day. There never seems to be enough time. Life goes too fast, except when it’s easy for a minute.

When we are tempted to lose focus, we can simply look up and ask for help. He’s there, waiting to lend a hand in reminder of why we love Him so much. Attention spans are fickle, so we have to keep reeling them in over and over again …and giving them back to Him.

There are a lot of cats across the streets of our minds. Things that temp us to stew and people that we don’t feel like forgiving. There are situations out of our control and delays we don’t understand. Through it all, Christ’s hand reaches down to remind us that we are His.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for this day and this time to reflect on Your Word. Thank You for Jesus’ grip on our hands. Forgive us for wanting to growl and grimace at life, and help us to stay focused on You and follow Jesus …today, and always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Praying,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Note We all Play (#jammed daily devo, day 208)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 208: Play the common note.

“She named him Samuel,saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” 1 Samuel 1:20July 27

Regardless of the type of instrument a musician plays in an ensemble or orchestra, there is almost always a note in each song that everyone plays.

The woman speaking in today’s verse knew that note well. It was a note of prayer.

“I asked …”

No matter how different our prayers are, we are all asking God for something. Healing, guidance, help, blessing …but beyond the note we all play are the aches familiar to each soul.  “Praise You ….Thank You …Forgive me …Bless me …” the sentiments that fill in the ellipsis are different for us all.

For Hannah, prayer had very much become about bearing a child. Heaped on top of the burden of her own barrenness, the was made fun of by her husband’s other wife for her inability to bear children. Her prayers were desperate for the only One she knew could grant her peace to do just that. And as He promises to us all, He heard her. Hannah walked away from prayer in peace.

Today’s Scripture is the happy answer to Hannah’s prayer. A son, whom she named Samuel, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

Christ laid down His life so that we could weave our hearts in and out of Scripture as we pray. We can come to the Father, through Him, no common notes required. Jesus not only gave us an example of what to say, but He showed us how to pray. In the desert, in the garden, amidst miracles, and on the cross. Tears of blood when He prayed to His Father …and of confidence in the desert has He quoted Scripture to affirm His grounds against Satan. To ask for forgiveness on behalf of those who beat Him unjustly as He hung on the cross. Jesus lived out prayer as a personal conversation between a Father and Son. With Praise, Thanks, Forgiveness, and Blessing.

This, then, is how you should pray:

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Praying,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The School Lunch (#jammed daily devo, day 127)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 127: Visit often.

“Take a moment to think about who you are with and what you are doing.” Proverbs 23:1 (VOICE)

Her face lit up and her legs broke out of line. Down the hallway she flew and into my arms. image-127On the days that my over-tasked tendencies give way to down time, I sometimes surprise my daughters by joining them for lunch at school. Squeezed into a small table full of little people, those are fleeting moments I will cherish forever. Especially, when they are embarrassed of me in their teenage years.

Today’s verse reminds us to be careful of the company we keep and be aware of our weaknesses and tendencies. The world doesn’t stop watching us when the lighting is bad. It’s important to step into situations where the love we receive from Him can reach others, but not so far as to fall back into easy temptations and old patterns.

My prayer is for my daughters to see me as I am as they grow up …an imperfect mess, who was rescued by Jesus. I want them to feel like they’ve always been sitting next to the same person squeezed into that elementary lunch table. Transparent and real. But, how do we know what to tell our kids and when?

To further understand today’s Scripture, let’s look at the whole verse section that it’s pulled out of:

When sitting down to eat with a ruler,
    take a moment to think about who you are with and what you are doing.
 If you are the type who eats too much too fast,
    do whatever is necessary to curb your enthusiasm for food.
 Also, do not eye the ruler’s delicacies,
    for the food may not be what it seems.” Proverbs 23:1-3 (VOICE)

 It’s situational. We will know our children well, and be able to weave the experience of our own pitfalls into their guidance through discipline …and possibly pealing back our own layers in conversation as time marches on. It will be important to prayerfully consider which parts of our hearts to reveal. He will use all of our struggles to help others if we are in tune to His voice. But, if we are oversharing in order to exalt our achievements or wield control, we will stumble and fall.

 Considering when to expose our kids to what they don’t know about their parents is a delicate process, to be revealed over time in God’s time. The best way to start is through prayerful conversation, and time in the Word each day. Take time …and give Him time.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for guiding us through each day so personally. Thank You for creating us each with a unique collection of experiences and characteristics. Forgive us for trying to impress others with our accomplishments and knowledge, and bless us with open minds and compassionate, honest heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Lunch dates,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Hand-Held (#recall 12 series, May)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where together we are memorizing a little bit more of God’s Word each month! This month’s verse is:

“He is always listening.” Psalm 34:15 (VOICE)

“OK,” I repeated, “I got it.”

I cut through the soft, glass cove at sunset to the tune of gulls cackling and the Evinrude faithfully buzzing along. Fresh-water beaded up on my  sun-screened skin, as the pages of whatever book I’d been lost in all day flipped through my mind. I whirred to a peaceful stop to watch the orange setting sun.

“What’s your 20?” the hand-held cracked into my serenity. As much as I wanted to toss it to the gulls, I answered, “over here …look to your starboard,” and waved my arms at my dad as high as my constrictive ‘life-saving’ device would allow me to reach. I ached for freedom from the noise. march-recall-tweet-1

It’s hard to find a quiet place to think before you’re old enough to claim some independent space. I knew little then about how loud life would be now. God is funny, that way.

He is present in every memory, and every future step forward. He’s known us the longest, and knows us best. Who better to talk to about life, than to the One who is always listening?

Laugh with God.

For the Eternal watches over the righteous,
    and His ears are attuned to their prayers. He is always listening.” Psalm 35:15 (VOICE)

Despite the annoyance of teenage monitoring, it was fun to say “10-4,” “over and out,” and “Lieutenant Dan” on that little hand-held radio. We heard a lot of laughs and inside jokes on Channel 74 before cell phones took over.

may-recall-image-1Hearing carries a couple of themes throughout the Bible, but concerning this verse it means: “God hears the prayers of His people.” (Dictionary of Bible Themes, #5159) 

When I realized that I could just talk to my Father without the formality of the memorized prayers of my Catholic upbringing, it was akin to hearing His voice crackle through the hand-held radio saying “10-4.” Laughter! God truly knows how to comfort us, carry us, console us, and crack us up. Lean into Him prayerfully with the personality He knit.

Feel for peace.

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous [those with moral courage and spiritual integrity]
And His ears are open to their cry.” Psalm 34:15 (AMP)

Growing up on the water, the hand-held granted a sense of peace, even though there was distance between the boat and the shore. It was easy to call for help, and a feeling of never really being alone even when out of sight.

This verse goes so much deeper than God hearing what we are saying or praying. He is alert to what is happening in our world. He’s not a distant Father that checks in from time to time, He’s a hands-on Dad …ready to whack our hand away from the hot stove or put a pause on a situation we’re ready to rush through.may-recall-image-2

When we grab for Jesus’ hand, His peace trumps our solution. If we can quiet our hearts and search for Him, the peace we feel will direct our steps. God’s movement doesn’t always look the way we’d like to recognize it, but He longs to take our hand, give it a squeeze, and whisper, “this way.”

Audible thoughts.

God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.” Psalm 34:15 (MSG)

We don’t need a hand-held to call God for help, share a joke with Him, or just experience the comfort of knowing He’s there if we need Him. We need Jesus.

Words fail us, but He never does. We launch into tantrums and lose our tempers …ugly cry and vent in despair. Life is desperate at times, but the measures we take are no match for His power.

In a heap, in the corner, sobbing ourselves to sleep …He is there. Talking to ourselves in the mirror, or staring into a hopeless space …He is there. When we think we’ve blown it …lost it …or can’t move …He is there.

march-recall-tweet-2God wouldn’t have created boundless ways to communicate if there was one required way to speak to Him. His ear is universally omnipotent. Even Jesus ran out of words in the garden, praying with such agonous sadness He cried tears of blood.

He is in our indescribable moments, aware and alert to our heart, and compassionate to listen as we tumble through motions. Panic, fumble, stare, cry …there’s no wrong way to reach for the Father. Through Jesus’ death on the cross and our acceptance and belief in Him, we have full access to the One who sees us …knows us …created us …and loves us …unconditionally.

Happy Talking,

Megs

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